ANNE ARUNDEL COUNTY, Md. — Melissia Stevens, whose daughter is a middle school student, said the transportation issues in Anne Arundel County Schools shouldn’t have gotten to this point.
“Instead of them calling in another bus or waiting for an empty bus to come pick the kids up they ended up throwing them onto our bus which is already crowded as you can imagine,” Stevens said. “Having kids 3-4 to a seat and all sitting in the aisle and also back among the emergency exit. I thought that was absolutely ridiculous.”
Jennifer Powell said her daughters bus has been arriving 20 minutes early because the driver needs to do double runs in the morning and leaving an hour late to bring them home.
The biggest issue is a lack of communication.
“It’s tough because my younger kids go to school in Calvert County,” Powell said. “So it’s a 45 minute commute for me to go and pick the younger kids up and be up and be at the other school. The lack of communication from the transportation services, that was my complaint.”
On Tuesday Anne Arundel County Executive Steuart Pittman said the ultimate solution is to hire more drivers and get new drivers trained quickly.
He said they are working with contractors to provide constant updates for parents on bus statuses.
“But we face a major challenge with with companies, Amazon and others who are also in need of drivers will CDL licenses actively recruiting our bus drivers,” Pittman said. “So we've had conversations and are continuing to research incentives possibility of using federal, our money, the recovery plan money to provide the kinds of incentives that our competitors are providing to keep our school bus drivers on the job.”
Right now they are expanding public bus lines to help out.
“The gold in Edgewater yellow mostly around Annapolis golden Edgewater gold on college Parkway are adding three three large vehicles to accommodate additional students. These would be students 12 and over who can ride the buses alone can light ride Trent public transportation alone. As well as adding three additional larger vehicles and drivers.”
The district uses contractors and says they desperately need more drivers to sign up.